explore / exploit

To explore (verb) is to investigate or travel to a new area in order to discover things. Exploration is neutral:

  • The satellite will explore the area outside our solar system.
  • We are exploring the possibility of a business partnership.

    To exploit (verb) is to take advantage of something, usually in a selfish or unethical way. Exploitation is bad:

  • Europeans exploited African slave labor to build their colonies.
  • Jerry has a long history of sexually exploiting children.

    To complicate matters, the word exploit can also be a noun – referring to significant actions or achievements. This word is neutral.

  • I started a blog to update my family on my exploits in foreign countries.